Once, many years ago I was staying in a small village in India outside of Udaipur surrounded by dunes of sand that were like warm pillows of silk. The moon was so bright it would paint the desert white as if it had been turned to snow. It casted such dark shadows from the desert brush the shadows looked as if they were holes within the universe. It was both magical and beautiful.
During my time in this small village I met a wise and deeply spiritual elder. Each night, we would play chess and drink chai on the rooftop of his cafe in the moonlight as they didn’t have electricity after a certain hour. We’d have many deep conversations as we listened to the incessant chanting of prayers heard from the nearby temples.
One day, he invited me to journey with him to visit a family who lived in a small hut outside the village. We rode out on his moped in the warm autumn air. We arrived at a tiny hut made of clay and other natural material. Huge rats scurried across the rafters. A young boy, about the age of 17, was carried out and placed on a thatched cot. I could see him drink in the warmth of the sun and breathe in the autumn air. He was dying from some rare condition and apparently only had months to live.
The boy had this genuine smile and sense of calm about him. I mentioned how relaxed and happy he looked. He looked in my eyes with such depth and clarity and said “What is there to be unhappy about? Look how beautiful the day is!”
This young boy, who lived in a mud hut with a dirt floor and who had but months to live, continues to teach me everyday. He taught me how no matter what’s happening in my life, there is magic and beauty all around me. He taught me how we each have a choice with which thoughts we focus on and hence give power to. Above all, he taught me that though the struggle in life is real, suffering is optional.
It’s said that Spirit is always speaking with us, leaving us signs, revealing its lessons and wisdom to those who’s ears are open to hearing and eyes are open to seeing.
When I’m feeling life overwhelm and pull my focus away from the present, I think back on that day. It helps to reground me, to release my mind so I may see and hear what my stressed mind tries to prevent me from seeing and hearing. Isn’t it amazing with what we allow our minds to be hijacked by when we have so many other options that could nourish our hearts and minds?
Today, focus your awareness on the beauty and miracles of being alive and how spirit is uniquely expressing Itself through everything. OM!